Live Free or Die but not in New Hampshire, House Bill 591

Posted: March 2, 2017 in Gold Prospecting, Suction Dredging
Tags: , , , , , ,

As many of you know I am a gold prospector and if you don’t know, you know it now.  I enjoy the great outdoors by prospecting for gold, I would hike miles and miles, over mountain ranges just to get to a good gold prospecting location. For me to hike I need a destination and a purpose. The same with camping, I will camp in the worst weather, for days and even weeks for gold prospecting. Gold prospecting is my serenity, just like fishing is to some, or hunting to others it is my passion. I like to prospect in New Hampshire, and I love to dredge for gold. I love New Hampshire, especially the state moto “live Free Or Die”. This is the state I was born in, I call New Hampshire my home state, most of my relatives still live in New Hampshire, my ancestors settled in New Hampshire while it was still the Massachusetts colony, one day I plan on going home. I want to spend my retirement in the mountains prospecting and dredging for gold.

Earlier this week I read an article in the Concord Monitor online titled: Bill would halt dredging machinery in N.H. gold prospecting , my blood pressure sky rocketed and I thought I was going to have a stroke because what I read was a proposed bill, HB 591 to ban gold dredging in New Hampshire. The entire bill is based on misconceptions about small scale suction gold dredging, possibly even lies. What happened to live free or die? There goes my whole plan for retirement. I would like to clear the air on some of these misconceptions about gold dredging especially those listed in this news article.

“There’s a surprising amount of damage that can be done by one of these things,” Claims Rep. Lee Oxenham, a Plainfield Democrat, which by the way indroduced and sponsored this bill. What I want to know is what is this surprising amount of damage. What is the merit for this bill? I don’t want to hear opinion and conjecture or flat out lies, show me the data that supports your claim. what I need to see are studies and or reports that have been peer reviewed, performed on the practice of small scale suction dredging because the ones that I have read prove otherwise.

It is obvious that who ever provided the information for this article knows very little to nothing about the subject of gold prospecting , gold dredging or anything associated with the practice thereof. The article states and I quote ” The bill also would outlaw similar processes and technologies with names like “rocker box” and “highbanking,” which suck up stones and water from steambeds via small gasoline-powered pumps and filter them in some way to help the users spot tiny flecks of gold that might be there.” Rocker boxes and highbankers don’t suck up stones you shovel into them. Rocker boxes don’t even have a motor on them it is a hand operated device that you pour water in with a pail. How does legislation get introduced on anything without even the basic facts even being known and better yet how does it pass a House vote? Something is wrong with our government.

Here is another quote from the article: “New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says these processes stir up too much silt and mud, “releasing fine sediments back into the stream” that can harm life in the waterway.” Flat lazy water is where mud and silt covers the bottom, rivers on flat land, swamps, ponds and lakes is where you would find this condition, this is not at all ideal for gold dredging. We don’t dredge here. What is ideal is a river that drops at least 10 feet per mile which means faster moving water, silt and mud does not settle in these areas for us to dredge up, we need to dredge in gravel, with mostly rocks (cobble) and boulders where only the heavy materials, minerals like magnetite, hematite, garnet and gold will settle, the lite materials have already been washed away by nature.

Another quote from the article:

“The turbidity can go for thousands of yards – it’s not just localized,” said Oxenham. “It’s disruptive for fish, insects, the benthic community in all its forms.” There are occasions where you may dredge into a pocket of clay and there is a moment of noticeable turbidity, it is not constant, travels about 50 to 100 yards and 100 is stretching it, not thousands. Notice in the picture below how clear the water is, this is typically how it runs.


Typical dredge in operation, where is all this turbidity that travels thousands of yards?

Yet another quote: “Further, she added, the noise and smell of the machines “can drive those searching for the unmediated, unspoiled experience of our natural wonders out of the state, along with their tourist dollars.” Yes there is the noise of  a small engine, the size of a lawn mower engine, a push mower not a riding one.  What smell? This makes it sound like we are running a paper mill out here and we are driving all the tourist away, simply not true. We have just as much right to the wild as a hiker or any one else who is recreating out in the state of New Hampshire. I am spending my money too, on campgrounds or other lodging, groceries, restaurants, gas stations, ice cream stands not to mention the $50.00 I pay for the permit to dredge.

New Hampshire residents should be outraged by this legislation because it is all based on fiction and if this is how legislators deal with a matter such as this imagine how legislation is passed on matters that you really care about. Maybe they should focus their efforts more on things like the heroin epidemic in the state.

If you like to prospect for gold and dredge in New Hampshire then please stand up for your rights and attend the public hearing that is going to be held by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee which the date and place is yet to be determined.  You should be able to find the date here when it is determined:


  1. Jack Duggins - Master Maine Guide says:

    You forgot about all the lead and other trash we pull out of these “pristine waters” usually dumped there by anglers and other tourists!
    Great writing, let me know if I can help.

  2. Jack, I did forget it here, but I did not forget it in my Emails to the Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Thanks for bringing that up because dredgers and all prospectors are removing waste from the rivers, harmful toxic metals as well as junk left behind by others recreating. We are excellent stewards of the environment, after all we spend most of our time in the water and I wouldn’t want to spend any time in polluted water. Thanks Jack.

  3. Mary Ann says:

    Hey Jack! It’s brother Joseph / “Within His Presence” You Tube channel.

    Great job on the post. Shared it on my Google+, and hit the like button as well. But, it shows up as Mary, not me! Oh well!

    I may try and incorporate this post into a video format. Or, at the very least, guide others to it. But, as I am noticing, it’s no different than a horse led to water.

    It seems a though we the people have become weak in our thinking, thanks to lies & propaganda.

    We have become a people dumbed down, who think we can’t change a thing, and don’t bother trying.

    Like you said Jack, “What happened to Live Free Or Die?”

    I add to this, “What happened to We The People?”

    It’s Time “We The People” Wake Up, And Become The Power We Are Meant To Be…

    • Hey Brother Joseph, thanks and yes that would be great to share it as far as you can and yes use it in a video.
      What happened to we the people, we need to stand up and say don’t tread on me because no one is coming to do it for us. I think that is part of the attitude, some one else will do it.
      So you know what “Lets Do This” It is our time!

  4. Stephen Brown says:

    I’ll stand up! Hello prospector jack!
    Ok I am going to say what most are thinking and I have no qualms in saying it! I am speaking
    to the government’s and not one individual. I live in vermont and NH is becoming like vermont!

    You have NO IDEA HOW PISSED OFF I am at these two states, Vermont and New Hampshire’s stupid crap. Some little pencil necked sob sitting behind a desk in a big city and never seen a prospector’s pan or even a rocker box! Hearing 3rd or 4th hand about someone using a dredge and sucking up a little trash fish and giving it a ride up the pipe! I have a lot more that I would like to say about these govs, but I don’t wish to spend life behind bars either!! Something has to give here! I am speaking from experience working beside the state in the justice system. I work for the prisoners of these states helping them to transform into good law abiding citizens the best I can.

    I am with you on getting gold like our forefathers did, but in a cleaner better way!
    Stephen Brown

    • Hello Stephen,
      It is true these legislators have no clue what a dredge is or what it does, All I ask of them is that we get a fair chance, we should have been contacted by NHDES Wetlands Bureau, and let us know this was in the works so we could talk about it, so we could present the facts scientific facts that have been peer reviewed. They have our addresses and phone numbers. In fact over the summer I contacted MaryAnn Tilton who is the Assistant Administrator of NHDES Wetlands Bureau and specifically asked her is NH considering banning suction dredging, I had reason to believe they were, she assured me no. I had asked if they could contact me if this was a consideration so that we could present the scientific peer reviewed facts, she told me to watch their web site, guess what it was never there and the bill has already been through the house and passed. I just want a fair chance.

      • Stephen Brown says:

        Ya I don’t know what to say do or anything, other than protest and the people uprising. I love prospecting to and I spent quite a bit of money last lear in equipment. Just so I could use it in NH. Sad that I have to drive all the way across Vt just to use my equipment. (I live next to northern NY) I have always said that New Hampshire is the follow up twin of vt. If Vt does it Nh will be coming along. But the freedoms we had are all gone and it becomes a communist government then all will say “what happen” we did not see it coming. Those are the people that should be drawn and quartered. I tell you that it’s not long before our freedoms that we all take for granted today will be long gone. The usa is a great place to live, compared to north korea. But give it 20 more years and we’ll talk about this subject again……

      • It’s an Agenda 21 initiative, also known as Sustainable Development 2030, using extreme environmentalism to get the people under control. It will be to late when the majority wakes up, it will all be gone. UN Agenda 21

  5. Alex dadario says:

    Well done my friend , and congratulations on the victory ! Ran into Shannon Poe from AMRA last week and we spoke on the subject . He told me that he was well aware of the situation, and that you guys had been in touch.
    Look forward to dredging up there and hope to run into you and hillbilly John this season .
    Thanks again for taking the initiative and all that you’ve done for the cause !

    Heavy pans

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